The Prince of Egypt

I love this movie. It is drop-dead gorgeous, the soundtrack is amazing (Deliver Us? The Plagues? When You Believe?), and it never fails to make me cry.

I’m pretty sure there is a storyform in there. Actually I think I found one, but of course I’m not sure at all. For those of you who saw the movie, I’d love to have your opinions first! I’d love to analyze the movie.


Off the top of my head on the throughlines:

Moses’ life is laid out for him – until he discovers he’s an Israelite.

Ramses: “I will not be the weak link!”

Freeing the Israelites from bondage.

Poisoned brotherhood

Still thinking about the Resolve.

I’d love to analyze this film! I may need to see it again though. I’ll see if I can watch it in the next couple of days.

Are you referring to the Dreamworks animated feature? Or is there another movie with the same title that I’m unaware of?

Hi @Hunter, nope I am indeed referring to the Dreamworks animated feature!

@LunarDynasty I thought the OS was somehow in Universe (with Moses in Psychology, Ramses in Physics and their relationship in Mind), but your arrangement is true to most classical movies of the times and it seems to work better. Especially Ramses in Mind.

For the resolve I believe it would be Change. Moses comes a long way, from being a spoiled prince to God’s messenger, from an irresponsible young man to someone who is ready to shatter his relationship with his brother and allow God to spread his scourge on Egypt if it means freeing his people. Ramses never changes, even when he ends up liberating the Israelite - as he still goes on to try and kill them all.


Nice. I’ll watch it again, then, this weekend. This sounds like an interesting analysis.


Completely on-board with the illustration for the Resolve. And @LunarDynasty’s arrangement of Domains sounds good. Where do you think the Concerns lie?

So far I agree with everything said, and I’ll add my take on the Concerns. I’m near positive this is a Desire (lower-left) movie.

  • MC: The Future - Having lost his future in performing that murder, having an uncertain one after his calling, etc… seem to be deep roots in Moses’s lack of self-confidence as a personal problem

  • OS: Obtaining - Freeing the Israelites from bondage, or maintaining them as slaves leads to fights, mistrust, verbal attacks, etc., among virtually everyone

  • IC: Subconscious - Is it anything but Ramses deepest desires that influence, or better said, challenge Moses? He even goes so far as to try to influence Moses by playing on the desires Moses himself has.

  • RS: Becoming - That “poisoned brotherhood” just deepens worse as the transformations of Moses from Egyptian to Israelite shepherd and Ramses into effectively his father become more pronounced. Also, the Issues under this are flat-out obviously the source of problems in this relationship.

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TBH, I’m not quite sold on Resolve.

Moses from the beginning is sensitive to the plight of the slaves. He notices his mother’s disappointment when he humiliates Zipporah. His interest in her welfare leads him to his real siblings, who tell him the truth. And fairly early in the film, he turns his back on Ramses to flee into the wilderness – which is EXACTLY what he does again at the end when he brings his people through the Red Sea: “Goodbye, brother.”

I feel like for Moses to be a Change character, he’d have to reject his Israelite heritage, ignore the commands of the God of Abraham, and accept that Ramses is “the morning and evening star.”

So from this angle, Moses seems Steadfast. As for Ramses Changing? He’s playful and tolerant when Moses first returns, but then, “My father had the right idea about you Hebrews!” That’s something he never would have said at the beginning – certainly not about his beloved step-brother. He becomes the tyrant his father was, the one that tormented him with put-downs: “one weak link can break the chain!”


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You have some solid points. I haven’t had a chance to fully re-watch the movie, yet. But from my recollection, wherever the change resides, I suspect it’s a relatively slow one, instead of a Leap of Faith.

To be honest, I’m no longer sure which I think Resolve is, either. I’d have to watch it again for that one.

However, I’ll admit that story form that I have auto-chose Change for Moses…

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Thinking about it further, most of what I cited for evidence of Change in Ramses (IC) probably belongs to the Relationship Throughline. I think it’s fairly obvious that it’s a dissolving relationship (giving the movie it’s bittersweet edge at the end, when Ramses calls for his brother across the sea).

Anything that can be described in terms of their brotherhood is RS and probably can’t be used to argue for MC or IC Resolve.

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Okay, my points for Ramses as Change IC pale in the face of “I will not be the weak link!” That governs him all the way through, and whenever he starts to consider another way, the words of the prior Pharoah put him back on the obstinate path.

I think my issue is that I’m having trouble seeing a strong Change arc for Moses. I can certainly buy that there’s no climactic Leap of Faith ™ moment, but even considering a slow burn growth, I have suspicions that there might be an MC signpost or two missing – or that the Change comes too early in the film, and he has nowhere to go for the second half.

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I wouldn’t be surprised if the MC is very light, but I think it’s all there.

As for the change, at the beginning of the movie, Moses is without a doubt very Egyptian in manner. By the end of the movie, though, he is fully accepting of his being an Israelite. This acceptance is definitely shown building up slowly throughout the movie, and could be seen as an MC perspective switch from “my problems are in the Universe” to “my problems were in my Mind.”

In other words, by adopting the attitude of an Israelite shepherd, the personal issues Moses has with his uncertain and/or undesired future(s) dissipate. Even more interesting is that it is Ramses who provides the perspective that a strict Mind could resolve one’s problems.


Really like this. Interesting that Ramses, in laying out plans for reconstruction, says, “Last night, the gods granted me a vision.” Then later in the wilderness, Moses actually does see a vision.

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Cool insights, @LunarDynasty and @Hunter! I certainly agree that Moses’s Changed Resolve is gradual.

So with those Concerns, the story has a Growth of Stop and an MC Approach of Doer. What do you think the other Dynamic Story Points would be (PS-Style, Driver, Story Limit, Outcome, Judgement)?

Problem-Solving Style and Driver are blind spots for me in most stories, so I hesitate to choose for those.

However, the other three, I can answer.

  1. Story Limit - Spacelock: For this story, I think it’s fairly clear what can be done before either the Israelites are free or stuck in bondage. Also, there is absolutely no ticking clock…

  2. Outcome - Success: The Israelites are freed. If there is any question as to whether this is the goal, the first song is Deliver Us.

  3. Judgement - Good: Less pronounced than the Success, but shown nevertheless. Moses has completely identified with his true people and is happy, as are his birth and extended families.

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Agreed on Optionlock. The plagues themselves tick down the list of things the Egyptians can suffer before relenting.

Driver is Action. Encounters, plagues, miracles, interventions – all the tough decisions are in response to these, right from the get go (Pharoah wonders what he’s going to do with his reckless sons after they bash up the Sphinx, Moses decides to leave Egypt after discovering his ancestry and killing the slave-driver).

Problem-Solving Style? I think this scene kind of teases out Moses’ and Ramses’ different styles:

Moses tackles things in a direct chain. “Do you not understand what Seti was?” If there’s a wrong, it must be righted.

Ramses tries to balance things. The greatness of Egypt balances out the slavery. His father’s legacy balances out his harshness and cruelty. I also think it’s telling that Ramses’ response to Moses’ first direct challenge is one of sadness, rather than anger:

MOSES: I can no longer hide in the desert while they suffer…at your hands.
RAMSES (sadly): So you have returned, only to free them.


Mulling this over more, I believe I made the wrong choices for MC and IC Concerns, and the Domains they imply for Moses and Ramses. I think Moses is actually a Be-er, especially in regard to how quickly he adapts to the situation at hand. Ramses seems more like a Do-er in that he makes efforts to adjust the situation to his liking.

In addition to the above, I was looking at the Element quad under Preconception, and that screams the way Ramses viewed the world and challenged Moses. Then, looking at the Elements under Denial, those make more sense for Moses. Also, does it not seem like Moses is longing for something more throughout the entire movie?

And of course, Moses denies that he is not a Hebrew, then denies that his life is worth honoring, and even tries to deny his call. I’d mark Ramses as having a drive from the preconceived notions from Seti of what his life should be and that moreover, continues to act according to stubbornness and pride, all of which are Preconception. Add to all of that that Ramses has an eye toward a greater future for Egypt, and I’m convinced that this is the correct orientation.

All that said, I do agree with Action Driver and MC Linear Problem-Solving Style.

Summary: I’ve changed my mind about the IC and MC Concerns from my previous post.

  • Influence Character - Universe/Future/Preconception
  • Main Character - Mind/Subconscious/Denial
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Hmmm interesting take. The ‘Denial’ angle on Moses is appealing.

And while I can see Ramses as problematic Situation (“I bear the burden of my father’s crown”), I’m still not sold on Moses in Mind. What’s his problematic Fixed Attitude that he carries through the whole story?

Parsing out some throughline differences: I’m certain that Moses is protagonist and Ramses is antagonist. Regarding the Overall Story Goal, Moses pursues the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, while Ramses works to prevent it. Thus, Moses’ and Ramses’ personal issues (as MC and IC) are distinct from the activites of “Deliver Us.”

Their relationship centers around the changing nature of their familial bond. Thus, their personal issues (as MC and IC) are distinct from the problems surrounding their dissolving relationship.

So, separate from Moses’ role as prophetic deliverer, and separate from his brotherhood with Ramses, what is his personal issue?


I think in the case of this movie, it’s less a personal problem of a Fixed Attitude, and more a problem of a problematic Mindset. His own personal view of himself sources his turmoil throughout the movie.

The most telling line is when he says, “I did not see because I did not wish to see.” This line of dialogue is about more than Moses as deliverer; it is also about Moses’s character. Add to this the gists of “fear of god, fear of public speaking, being righteous, being politically right,” all of which are really felt only by Moses alone (especially “being righteous”), and it places him squarely in Mind.

In addition to this, the influence Ramses has over Moses and others, is most clearly marked by his status as pharaoh, the power that he holds over them because of this. I think this is most clearly represented in the scenes immediately after the Egyptian priests “repeat” the effort of turning water to blood. The Israelites lose hope, and are less concerned with their freedom, and more concerned with how Ramses could affect their lives. That said, I do think this is a multi-appreciation moment, as both ideas come up.

Also, I’m certain that Moses as is a Be-er. He certainly does in many places, but he prefers to adapt, to be, when he has the choice. He is quiet and holds his place when he and Ramses get into trouble after the horse race. He makes efforts to feel more like an Egyptian when he hears that he might not be one. He adapts to the shepherd life after running to the desert, etc. All of this is done in an effort to resolve his personal pain.

On the other hand, Ramses prefers to take action in regard to his problems and problems around him. He dumps the water in response to Moses getting him into trouble. He is the first to speak up after the two of them destroy a building during a horse race. He immediately pardons Moses of his crimes when Moses returns from the desert, etc.

Feel free, though, to argue against this, and make the case for the other orientation, as I might just flip-flop again. (I know that I have a blind spot when it comes to the Universe Class.) I wonder, though, if these perspectives might not be fully fleshed out…